Glenn Guzzo

 

Passing Fancy: Strat-O-Matic Helps

Gamers Relive Historic 1991 NFL

 

By Glenn Guzzo

 

            Which team’s starting wide receivers combined to catch 315 passes in one season?

 

            Thinking about last season’s Arizona due of Larry Fitzgerald (103 catches) and Anquan Boldin (102) and saying, “No way” to 315?

 

            You’ve got to think back to 1991, when run-and-shoot offenses eliminated fullbacks and tight ends. Then, Houston’s Warren Moon passed for a record 4,690 yards, primarily to his four starting wide receivers – Haywood Jeffires (100 catches), Drew Hill (90), Ernest Givens (70) and Curtis Duncan (55).

 

            Strat-O-Matic’s newly released updated version of the 1991 season shows them at nearly unique positions: Jeffires is the traditional Left (Split) End, but Duncan is the Right Split End in place of the tight end. And Hill is the Left Flanker while Givens is the typical Flanker. Houston’s starting lineup shows just one running back.

 

            The Oilers were not a fluky offense, just the most prolific one to use four wide receivers. Detroit advanced to the NFL title game with four wideouts. Rather than support All-Pro HB Barry Sanders (342 carries, 1,548 yards) with sturdy blockers, the Lions spread the defense with Left Flanker Brett Perriman, Right Flanker Mike Farr, Left Split End Robert Clark and Right Split End Willie Green, who combined for 180 receptions.

 

            Producing 1991 in the updated format with improved Flat Pass yardage shows the Oilers and Lions to their best advantage, building their passing yardage by throwing frequently for shorter distances (Moon had 655 passing attempts, while the Lions’ Erik Kramer and Rodney Peete combined for 459).

 

Both of these squads are among the six in carded form in the new release. All the 1991 NFL teams are in SOM’s computer game.

 

            But the most spectacular deep-passing card from 1991, perhaps all-time, belongs to Mark Rypien, quarterback of the champion Washington Redskins. Rypien completes an eye-popping 17 Long Pass chances guessed Wrong. His 13 completion chances guessed Right are as many as most of the top quarterbacks complete Wrong these days.

 

            Rypien has this intoxicating line for Long Pass dice roll 7: Right-Long Gain; Wrong-Long Gain; 2-tmd: +29.  Obviously, he’s tough to stop.

 

            And with Rypien’s 24 chances to complete Short Passes guessed Wrong, opposing defenses will most often be guessing Pass, freeing capable halfbacks Earnest Byner and Ricky Ervins to keep the first-down chains moving.

 

            The rest of the six-team card set is star-studded: Buffalo’s Jim Kelly, Dallas’ Troy Aikman and Denver’s John Elway lead such supporting casts as runners Emmitt Smith (1,500+ yards for Dallas), Thurman Thomas (1,400+ for Buffalo) and 1,037-yard man Gaston Green (for Denver). WRs Michael Irvin (93 catches for Dallas), Andre Reed and James Lofton (each more than 1,000 yards for Buffalo) also glitter.